As a woman, losing your hair, especially if you’re young or at a vulnerable time in your life, can badly affect your confidence. There are lots of different types of hair loss. It can take the form of “thinning” or involve a total loss of hair. It can be gradual or sudden, affecting the old and the young. Hair loss can be genetic, or because of extreme stress, a medical condition or treatment. But not all hair loss is a concern.
Why Do We Shed Our Hair?
Is it normal for women to experience hair loss? Hair on the scalp grows an average of 0.3 to 0.4 mm a day. At any given time, many hairs will be in one of three stages of growth and shedding:
Anagen is the active phase of the hair. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair (a hair that has stopped growing or is no longer in the anagen phase) up the follicle and eventually out.
The catagen phase is a transitional stage. About 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time, lasting around 2 to 3 weeks. Growth stops, and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as club hair.
Telogen is the resting phase and usually accounts for 6% to 8% of all hairs. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the. During this phase, the hair follicle is totally at rest and the club hair is formed completely. Women lose around 50 to 100 telogen hairs each day. These shedding stages are perfectly normal and are nothing to be concerned about.
What Causes Hair Loss for Women?
As mentioned in the first paragraph there are many different reasons why women suffer with hair loss.
What medical conditions can cause hair loss?
Some medical conditions can be the cause of hair loss. These conditions include:
systemic lupus erythematosus
A common, severe cause of hair loss could be alopecia. Alopecia simply means “hair loss.” It’s not contagious. There are a variety of different types of alopecia caused by anything from genetics to hair care practices or anything that triggers the immune system to attack hair follicles. Here are just a few.
- Androgenetic alopecia is female-pattern baldness or hair loss caused by genetics, or family history. It’s the leading cause of hair loss in women and generally begins between the ages of 12 to 40 years old. While men tend to notice balding as a receding hairline and specific bald spots, women’s androgenetic alopecia hair loss appears more as overall thinning.
- Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable. These patches may connect, however, and then become noticeable. The condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
- Alopecia Totalis is a condition characterized by the complete loss of hair on the scalp. It is an advanced form of alopecia areata.
- Alopecia Universalis involves the loss of all body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, chest hair, armpit hair, and pubic hair. It is the most severe form of alopecia areata.
What medications can cause hair loss?
Hair loss is a side effect of many medications. These drugs usually only cause temporary hair loss goes away once you’ve got used to or stopped taking, the medication. These medications damage the hair follicles themselves, disrupting growth at different stages. Two kinds of hair loss may occur:
- Telogen Effluvium or short-term, temporary hair loss – occurs in the “resting” phase of the hair follicle, but new hair growth continues.
- Anagen Effluvium – This is a longer-term type of hair loss and often also includes thinning or loss of other body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. Anagen effluvium takes place in the hair’s “new growth” phase.
Here are some medications that can cause hair loss:
- Medication that affects the hormones – Hormone therapies can trigger hormone imbalances in women, causing hair loss and possibly causing permanent female pattern baldness. Birth control pills are used for contraception and hormone replacement therapies (HRT), like progesterone and estrogen. Women who have had a full hysterectomy, for example, require ongoing HRT after surgery. Post-menopausal women may require HRT as well.
- Vitamin A – High doses of vitamin A and medications derived from it can cause hair loss.
- Acne medications – One type of acne medication is vitamin A-derived medication, isotretinoin (Accutane) and tretinoin (Retin-A) can cause hair loss.
- Antibiotics – Prescription antibiotics can cause temporary hair thinning. Antibiotics can deplete your vitamin B and hemoglobin, which disrupt hair growth. When hemoglobin is too low, you can become anemic and lose hair as a result. Normal levels of vitamin B are also critical to maintaining healthy hair.
- Antifungals – Antifungal medications are used for fungal infections and have been linked to hair loss in some people. The antifungal medication voriconazole is one such treatment that has been associated with alopecia in the past.
- Anti-clotting drugs – Anticoagulants like heparin and warfarin are used to thin the blood and prevent blood clots and certain health concerns in some people. These medications can cause hair loss that begins after taking these medications for about three months.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs – Some statin drugs like simvastatin (Zocor) and (atorvastatin) Lipitor have been reported to cause hair loss.
- Immunosuppressants – Some immune-suppressing drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can cause hair loss. A few of these include methotrexate, leflunomide (Arava), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), and etanercept (Enbrel).
- Anticonvulsants – Medications that prevent seizures, like valproic acid (Depakote) and trimethadione (Tridione), can lead to hair loss in some people.
- Blood pressure medications – Beta-blockers, including the following, can cause hair loss: metoprolol (Lopressor), timolol (Blocadren), propranolol (Inderal and Inderal LA), atenolol (Tenormin), nadolol (Corgard)
- ACE inhibitors – can also lead to thinning hair. These include: enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), captopril (Capoten)
- Antidepressants and mood stabilizers – Some people who take medications for depression and mood stabilization may experience hair loss. Drugs that may cause this include paroxetine hydrochloride (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), protriptyline (Vivactil), amitriptyline (Elavil), fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Weight loss drugs – Weight loss medications like phentermine can cause hair loss. This is because dieters who lose their hair are often also nutrient-deficient or may have underlying health conditions contributing to their hair loss. So, while some people taking weight-loss drugs have reported hair loss, that loss could be due to malnutrition.
- Medications for gout – Gout medications like allopurinol (Zyloprim and Lopurin) have been reported to cause hair loss.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs used to treat certain types of cancer and autoimmune illness can cause anagen effluvium. This hair loss includes eyelashes, eyebrows, and body hair. These drugs are designed to destroy the fast-growing cancer cells in your body, but they also attack and destroy other cells that grow quickly, like the roots of your hair. Regrowth will occur after treatments have ended.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Hair Loss?
Losing your hair is not something to be worried about, if you are experiencing hair loss that is unusual for you, including bald spots, patchiness, and clumps of hair falling out, you should see your primary care physician or dermatologist. Or if you are taking any of the medications listed above and experiencing hair loss or thinning, then please contact your doctor. Once you have a cause you then can look for a solution, Scalp micropigmentation for women in is a fast-growing cosmetic treatment that is offered in many clinics like Precision Scalp and Dermesthetica to name a few that know the importance of helping their clients feel happy again, to look in the mirror with a smile.